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Revolution in the Air

Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che

Max Elbaum


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (4/10/2018)
Paperback (10/17/2006)


Revolution In The Air is the first in-depth study of the long march of the US New Left after 1968. It tells the story of the ‘new communist movement’ which was the most racially integrated and fast-growing movement on the Left. Thousands of young activists, radicalized by the Vietnam War and Black Liberation, and spurred on by the Puerto Rican, Chicano and Asian-American movements, embraced a Third World oriented version of Marxism. These admirers of Mao, Che and Amilcar Cabral organized resistance to the republican majorities of Nixon and Ford.

By the 1980s these groups had either collapsed or become tiny shards of the dream of a Maoist world revolution. Taking issue with the idea of a division between an early ‘good sixties’ and a later ‘bad sixties,’ Max Elbaum is particularly concerned to reclaim the lessons of the new communist movement for today’s activists who, like their sixties’ predecessors, are coming of age at a time when the Left lacks mass support and is fragmented along racial lines.

Praise For Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che

“The breadth of Elbaum’s knowledge ... marks this book as an absolutely first-rate work of political scholarship.”—Village Voice

“Truly a superb work of scholarship that raises all the right questions ...”—Radical History

“It should be required reading for those interested in the modern history of social movements and for radicals of my generation who are trying to find out what went wrong.”—Los Angeles Times

“If you still believe sixties radicalism was nothing more than youthful middle-class confusion or parochial identity politics, then open these pages and dig.”—Robin D. G. Kelley

Verso, 9781859846179, 380pp.

Publication Date: June 17, 2002

About the Author

Max Elbaum was a member of Students for a Democratic Society and a leader of one of the main new communist movement organizations. His writings have appeared in the "Nation," the "US Guardian," "CrossRoads," and the "Encyclopedia of the American Left." He lives in Oakland.